It was with grim forbearance that the team, led by Commander Larian marched back to the launch and assembly cavern containing the large red truck-like machine. With weapons drawn and levelled, the party made their way back inside the cabin while the engineer Sal descended into the engine compartment intent on restarting the ancient (relatively speaking) piece of heavy equipment. As the team made itself comfortable, Sal tinkered with the old technology, until at last he worked out the mechanics of the plutonium-powered and steam-driven power plant. One great heave was all it took to turn the wheel that withdrew the control rods from the reactor, and careful management of the heat output slowly thawed the coolant lines running throughout the vehicle. Within a couple of hours they had power…and heat.
Warmth began radiating into the cabin, such glorious warmth! The ultimate test however, was if the party could get the metal hulk moving again, and indeed they did. With the vehicle somewhere around 18 meters wide, it required an operator on each side, and the crew was somewhat less than impressed to find the vehicle’s top speed to be a blazing one kilometer per hour. It was literally much faster to walk.
Not being in any hurry, it wasn’t long before the truck found its way into the wide corridor outside of the launch bay and began rumbling down the path only to once again come to the military drone that had rendered Larian and company to fine debris not long past. It was here some trepidation was expressed, but the giant wheels of the transport simply rolled right overtop without incident, leaving only crushed metal in their trail. It was the good doctor Jahus who perked up upon hearing a loud “POP!” come from down below.
“Wait. What was that? I just heard something.”
Ixlain volunteered to check out the noise, weapon readied, only to see a small crater emerge from behind the vehicle. “Guys, I think we drove over a mine.” With tires taller than most humanoids, no damage to them or to the remainder of the vehicle was evident.
Without further event, the team made its way into the second launch bay, shining lights about in dismay as they realized the vessel standing upright before them was little more than structural beams and bulkhead plating, obviously under heavy construction when the base’s intended occupants were more active. To their horror however, in stacks on the ground surrounding them were pallets of munitions marked as tricobalt devices. The room contained enough destructive power to annihilate a solar system, let alone a planet.
With this less-than-comforting discovery behind them, Ragnaar led the way into the last launch chamber, again seeing little more than a massive shell intended to become a spacefaring vessel one day. Redeeming this failure however was a worker bee pod resting on its tripod landing gear to the side of the room. Sal Vaxx, the engineer, brimmed with excitement. “Let’s go take a look!”
On approach, it quickly became evident that the worker bee had a previous occupant: A poor individual who had sustained some form of violent death. Macabre scene relieved of its centerpiece, Sal set to work assessing the vehicle while Ragnaar unceremoniously disposed of the long-mummified corpse.
“Bad news. The charge pack of the pod is completely dead. We’d need to find a way to restore power before we can see about getting this thing to work.”
After some debate as to course of action, it was Ixlain who spoke up and asked, “This is construction facility right? So it doesn’t really make sense that there would only be one worker bee. Where are the others?”
“Good point. We didn’t see anything on the way in.”
Before letting the team lapse into another hypothetical discussion, Larian spoke up, “Alright. We’ve seen most of what there is to see here, except for the supply room with the military drone inside of it. We should see if we can get inside there, then see about getting power up and running in this place.”
Not all agreed on the course of action, but Larian prevailed and the crew returned to the supply room to attempt entry despite knowing what was waiting for them on the other side. For twenty minutes debate raged as to how they could achieve room entry without getting blown to bits by the drone, but for all their fear, the drone did not activate when they finally managed to get one of the party inside.
The team was careful not to disturb the drone as they began searching the room. Construction components, circuitry, and conduits lay racked on shelves, covered in dust and waiting for engineers to give them purpose once again but sadly that day was not yet in sight. Sal was very sad to find no evidence of warp core parts in the room, concluding that the core must be brought in from outside on the back of the giant truck. Ragnaar was the one who noticed the lack of dust on one wall.
“Check this out,” the Anticaan growled, ”This wall doesn’t look like the others.”
A scan with a tricorder revealed nothing, but once noticed it was clear that something was off with the wall. Ragnaar placed his hand on the wall, only to pass right through it. “It’s a hologram!”
Leaving one member of the team outside of the hologram in case a forcefield rose of some kind, the party examined what was evidently a Federation listening station. With a console system that still had a small amount of power, the technically skilled Vulcan set to work recovering what data he could from the system, while the others probed a PADD found in the desk drawer.
Video evidence was recovered: Footage from a satellite long since removed from orbit, clearly demonstrating an enormous explosion blowing out the side of a planet such that the planet core was momentarily exposed right before the video ended. Such a blast should have been sufficient to have removed the planet from orbit and sent it off into space, but without further information little could be said. It was the reports that were most interesting.
While the base belonged to the Klingons, it seems the Federation had maintained a presence, suggesting that they had worked together at some point, presumably after their conflict, but nowhere in the base had human bodies been found that did not belong to the team. The reports indicated multiple items of interest, namely that what appeared to be a Borg sphere had entered the planet’s atmosphere shortly before an accident happened at the Jach’Eng facility on the other side of this world. This filled the team with dread, but dread turned to hope as the reports also provided a region map, and noted an expected warp core delivery to take place in the desert. “Well, now we know where we need to go look.”
“Yes, but first let’s get some power going.”
“To the power room!”